Starting this weekend, those in the Washington, D.C. area have a rare chance to view a powerful and poignant reminder of the impact of HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is returning to the city after more than 15 years. The event marks its 25th anniversary.
The iconic quilt was first displayed in October of 1987 at the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. Then just 40 panels, the quilt was the project of a group of friends, family members and loved ones who wanted to memorialize those lost to AIDS. After that inspiring first display, the quilt grew rapidly. As it travelled around the country, people added their own hand-sewn squares with the names of family members and loved ones. A reading of the names on the quilt soon became part of the tradition.
The quilt now contains 48,000 panels and is too big to be displayed all at once. Instead, for this special event, it will be shown in segments at more than 50 locations throughout the area through July 25th. The opening ceremony is this Saturday, July 21st, at 9:00am on the National Mall.
Viewing the quilt is an opportunity to honor and celebrate those who have died from AIDS and to strengthen efforts to eradicate a disease that devastates millions of families worldwide. To learn more about the quilt and the events in the city, check out the links below:
- Volunteer through quilt2012 or Advocates for Youth.
- Read a great history of the quilt at the NAMES Project Foundation.
- Check out a calendar of all the events associated with the quilt in D.C.
- Explore AIDS Quilt Touch, which allows you to view the quilt virtually.
- Find the AIDS Quilt on Facebook and Twitter!